Looking for a great Elementary and Preschool…HELP!

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  • #606703

    blessedmama
    Member

    Ok, so where we live, my daughters would go to West Seattle Elementary. My oldest has another year of preschool to go but then she will be off to Kindergarten. She now is enrolled at Hope Lutheran and we absolutely love it! But it gets pretty expensive starting in Kindergarten. I called West Seattle Elementary to find out class size and I believe it was max 26 students. I am a bit shocked by this but understand that is what it typically is across the state. My concern with that is that the kids get lost in the numbers. How could the children possibly get any one on one time? That really seems like way too many kids for one teacher (especially at such a young age). At Hope, my oldest is in a small class of 9 students and the max is 16. They have 2 teachers in there at a time. In Kindergarten they have a max of 24 (I believe)but that’s with 2 teachers.

    My other concern is that if we decide to go to public school, West Seattle Elementary, I would like to know what preschool most of the Kindergartners go to that will attend WSE. I would like for my daughters to be able to build a few friendships with some other kids that might be in their kindergarten class(to hopefully make the transition a little easier).

    Thank you in advance for any opinions or information :)

    #785618

    wsmama3
    Participant

    I wrote you back on the STEM thread – since you are looking at a year from now we will have a lot more open houses / info before open enrollment next year. :)

    Yes – public schools are a different beast than private. Class size being a huge factor. STEM as an option school can limit class sizes (v.s. other schools that have to follow guidelines via SPS).

    Just as a side note – while it’s nice to have buddies going into school most schools offer play dates over the Summer for kids starting the next Fall. Kids make friends within a few days – seriously. It’s amazing. As a parent I’d factor that as less of a priority than looking at the schools classes, teachers, curriculum, and the community.

    Good luck! You can follow what STEM is about on our website http://www.k5stempta.org and on facebook.

    #785619

    skeeter
    Participant

    I live in a neighborhood that is assigned to West Seattle Elem. I looked up the stats a few months ago. I think 85% to 90% of the students at WSE are on reduced/free lunch. Preschools are pretty expensive. So my guess is the vast majority of WSE students are not coming from preschools. My point is that I think your goal of finding a preschool that “feeds” into WSE isn’t possible.

    I don’t know what we’re going to do when our 2-year-old is ready for school. My guess is we will apply to attend an alternative public school and if we don’t get in we’ll do private school. I’d like to send our child to an economically and racially diverse school, but I’d have a difficult time sending our girl to the school with the lowest test scores in the state (I think) when we can afford another alternative.

    Maybe a charter school will be coming online by then?

    #785620

    blessedmama
    Member

    thank you very much, both of you, for all of the great information and advice. wsmama3 I look forward to learning more about the K5 Stem! And Skeeter, I would love to know where you find information like that? What website would you go to to find information about different schools and ratings and such? Thank you in advance :)

    #785621

    Que
    Member

    Annual reports, test scores, as well as demographics information and surveys about how the teachers think about how things are going, about all SPS schools is readily available on the Seattle Public Schools website.

    #785622

    skeeter
    Participant

    Play around with this website:

    http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/summary.aspx?year=2011-12

    and this:

    http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/summary.aspx?schoolId=1079&OrgType=4&reportLevel=School&year=2011-12

    89.5% of West Seattle elem students are on free or reduced price lunch as of 2012.

    #785623

    luckymom30
    Participant

    I have a question, how do you expect the scores of low performing schools to raise when so many choose to send their kids to “the better” with “higher scores” schools? How do you expect to have diversity in s hooks when so many choose “the better ” school over schools with a high number of students from low in one and different ethic background .

    #785624

    skeeter
    Participant

    luckymom you make a valid point.

    It’s a vicious cycle. The only way I can think to correct it would be a forced integration system. Every student is assigned to a school to balance out income and ethnic disparity. But good luck telling someone in a wealthy zipcode: “Your kid is getting bussed 7 miles to a school in a poor neighborhood.”

    I don’t have the answer.

    But by sending my child to private school (if we go that route) I’d be freeing up more money for the kids who go to the under-performing public school. So at least there is that.

    #785625

    kgdlg
    Participant

    Hopefully others can confirm, but I am pretty sure that when your kid leaves the district, the funding for them goes away. So sorry skeeter, but this actually leaves the district less well off. This is why all the kids going to Vashon is an issue for Seattle, because the loss of funding is significant. Also, on balance, the kids leaving for private and parochial school are generally not special needs kids, so the district is left smaller, with less money, and higher needs kids. Yup, vicious cycle indeed no matter how we cut it!

    #785626

    Bonnie
    Participant

    I’m not 100% sure of course but I think the district loses the federal funds for children not attending the district schools. I would think they’d still get the money from your property taxes. I don’t know how it all works though.

    But I agree, if people would just put the effort to send their child to the neighborhood school it will bring up all the schools. Instead everybody wants their kids in the ‘best’ school and that is how we get so much overcrowding.

    editing to add that just because kids are on free/reduced lunch does not mean that they are not good kids. I don’t know if I would count on that data to determine if a school is good.

    #785627

    skeeter
    Participant

    absolutely agree that kids on free lunch are not bad kids. They are great kids and my neighbors. I play with them often in highpoint playgrounds.

    The challenge is academic ability. I don’t know why, but every school with lots of kids on free lunch has poor test scores. If the test scores are poor I’m concerned there is not a whole lot of learning in the classroom.

    I need to do more research but I would have concerns sending my child to a school in which only 30 or 40 percent of students meet minimum test scores.

    I suspect West Seattle will be prime territory for a charter school so I want to see what they add to the mix.

    #785628

    Hil
    Member

    Skeeter the test scores and free lunch percentages follow ESL numbers. My 5th grader is at a low test score school and has had great teachers so she has gotten a good education. She qualified for spectrum but would have had to transfer to Arbor Heights. I didn’t want that because she was very connected at her current school so she possibly could have had some more advanced learning which I am all for but I decided to wait until middle school for that. It is all what you make of it.

    #785629

    skeeter
    Participant

    Thank you Hil. That’s great information. I didn’t figure ESL into my thought process. That could very well explain a lot.

    #785630

    librarian
    Member

    Family income is one of the highest predictors of test scores. Google “poverty and test scores” and you will find dozens of article verifying the link between poverty and low scores.

    #785631

    luckymom30
    Participant

    We sent our daughter to a unfavored low performing elementary school where she thrived and made some incredible friends. It also taught her to have an appreciation for people from all backgrounds.

    The teachers and principal at this school took the time to recognize she was ahead of the learning curve, and in short time she was moved up a grade. The teachers at this school taught the students at the individual level, and not just at the class level.

    Our daughter is the only student the principal ever moved up a grade in her almost 20 year career at SPS.

    We enrolled her in the favored school in our neighborhood, but since she was not challenged, the principal refused to recognize she was advanced in her learning. We choose the other school within our neighborhood that was more open to the idea of her being challenged and recognized her advanced abilities.

    Just because a school is the favored or high performing school does not make it a better school, it is the student body, the families and yes the teachers and principal that make up the school community.

    Choosing a school for your child is a personal decision, but not choosing the neighborhood school is a decision that will affect all students.

    Yes, many of the students came from low income, non English speaking families and yes, a high percentage of the students were on the free or reduced lunch program but they are mazing and loving children.

    Our family was welcomed to this school community and we still support this school years later as it is a school with alot of heart.

    #785632

    Hil
    Member

    Librarian why do you think that is? Smart people are not only born into high income families. Smart kids are born to poor families as well. It could be that their intelligence is not nurtured. It could be that learning is harder when you are hungry. It could be that society doesn’t have any expectations of these kids. It could do with the fact that as far as they know public school is the only option. Please google Rainier Scholars. This program puts low income kids of color that prove their capability and determination in an intense academic program and shows these kids how to get to and graduate college. These kids are amazing they work hard and it pays off for them. The first cohort will be graduating college this year from very prestigious schools across the country. This is only one of the many programs across the country showing kids who may not otherwise realize their potential how to navigate their education.

    #785633

    Hil
    Member
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